Living the dream - Northern Ireland make it to France 2016

Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates with manager Michael O'Neill after scoring to make it 2-0. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates with manager Michael O'Neill after scoring to make it 2-0. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

“The highest point of my career” was how Michael O’Neill described last night’s historic victory at Windsor Park.

A 3-1 win over Greece saw Northern Ireland qualify for a first-ever Euro finals.

The nation has not been seen at a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup but that will all change in France next summer.

Northern Ireland have endured three decades of hurt since those halcyon days of the Eighties when Billy Bingham’s men scaled the heights.

But now O’Neill can sit proudly beside Bingham - and 1958 World Cup boss Peter Doherty - in the pantheon of Northern Ireland’s great managers.

“It’s just an amazing feeling, what we have to look forward to,” O’Neill said of next summer’s Euro finals in France.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved tonight. It’s the highest point of my career, certainly, either as a player or a manager.”

O’Neill added: “To see the reaction of the players is where I get the real buzz. What people make of that down the line is up to them.

“Now we can look forward to the tournament.

“We’re not just gonna go there and enjoy it.

“We’re going to go and try to make an impact.”

O’Neill will now look forward to the draw for next summer’s Euro finals which will take place on December 12.